In terms of private long-term accommodation, Milan is not the most straightforward place. It is hard to find English-speaking real estate agents. As a foreign student, you have to be very careful, as not all agents are as honest as they should be. In addition, engaging an agency can be costly. Transparency is also sometimes an issue. It’s also best to be in Milan to arrange it.
The easiest, and probably safest, way to find a flat to rent or buy in Milano is to use the service provided by real estate agencies specialized in looking for property for foreigners. Agencies work either on a percentage basis, thus asking for around 15% of the total rent fee once the contract has been finalized, or on a fixed-fee basis, where you pay an amount to be put into contact with the owner of the property you wish to rent. Most of the classified ads in free ad publications such as Secondamano are of this kind. This means you could find yourself talking to a Centro Servizi which will ask you for money before going any further, so in this case beware! They will often want their commission in cash. But we highly recommend you to do it officially using a bank transfer (for security reasons) and negotiate their bid down.
Rents are quite high in the city. Our advice is to share – which can be fun! If you are looking for cheap accommodation, you can try the noticeboards at the various student institutions of the city, where you will often find people who want to share, or let a room.
Should you decide to go and look for a place yourself, we have listed some starting websites to begin your search: